Electric Truck Range Testing!

by Ben N on December 31, 2018

After some disappointment in the original range testing of the factory-built electric Ford Ranger EV, it was time to try again!

I did a little work on the truck, cleaning and testing the accessory 12V battery and learning about the “Star” tester that came with it. The hand-held computer communicates with the truck and lets a person test various parameters. One of those is total battery pack voltage.

Unlike the first time, I could now keep my eye on the total voltage while doing a test drive. I’m also trying to figure out exactly how the instrumentation on the truck works. For Lead-Acid batteries, voltage is generally a pretty good proxy for state of charge. However, the “Miles to Empty” and “F to E” gauges on the truck don’t seem to exactly follow the voltage. Perhaps it checks the voltage while under load? Maybe there’s a watt-hour meter involved? I don’t know exactly, but it sure would be nice to have an ACCURATE sense of how far the truck can travel!

So, I set up the camera, plugged in the computer, and went for a ride. In the end, I drove the truck 17.2 miles! Not a tremendous range, but better than the 12 miles of the first trip!

After making it back home, I plugged in the truck to charge. By tracking the power used to recharge, and dividing by miles driven, we can calculate the efficiency in Miles Per Kilowatt-Hour or watt-hours per mile. Unfortunately I think the efficiency will be poor, due to the fact that the batteries appear rather worn.

I’ll let you know the efficiency once the truck is charged up!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scott January 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Ben – will be interesting to see how you make it with this. Interesting on how the 1st gen EVs work. As you see these from time to time on eBay, always wondered how’d they do converted to LiIon. Combine that with an Orion BMS which can support Chademo DC fast charging and I think they would make quite a good vehicle

2 admin January 2, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Yes, I really like the idea of having all of the original advantages of the truck – AC motor, electric air-conditioning, the fact that it’s a TRUCK – and ADDING a Lithium battery AND DC Fast Charging.
We’ll see where it goes from here, but it sure is fun stuff to learn about!

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